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Monday, August 18, 2008

Snow Shadows



Snow Shadows by Caitlyn Hunter
Publisher: L&L Dreamspell
Genre: Contemporary; Paranormal
Length: Full
Heat: Hot
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Drawn together by passion, driven by eternal love, Matt and Ellen must battle an ancient Cherokee curse to find their destiny.

Held captive by a curse placed on him by his tribe's Shamans, Mathias Tassel lives in virtual solitude on Eternity Mountain. An immortal shape-shifter with psychic powers, he’s learned over the years that love and immortality don’t go together. Certain his destiny is set in stone, he keeps his heart safely under lock and key…until Ellen Mallory comes to his mountain.

A little over a year ago, Ellen’s life took a wrong turn. At the suggestion of her boss, she goes to Eternity Mountain, hoping to get her life back on track and, if she’s lucky, find some happiness again. She’s pretty sure she’s destined to live out her life alone…until fate steps in and tosses temptation in her path.

It comes in the form of a tall, dark, mysterious stranger. He rescues her from sure death when she gets lost in a blizzard. When she wakes up naked in his arms, she surprises herself and seduces him. Afterwards, she’s glad she did. Matt is the kind of man she’s always wanted; thoughtful, caring, attentive, gentle, funny…the list goes on and on. There’s just this one tiny little thing—at the height of passion, she keeps imagining he’s turning into a bear. What’s that about? All she knows is it gives a whole new meaning to the term “mind-blowing sex,” and she never wants their snowbound tryst to end.

In time, the curse comes between Matt and Ellen, but it isn’t the only thing standing in their way. There are other forces at work on Eternity Mountain. Forces which will bring them back together then tear them apart again. Can they protect the mountain and its wildlife from harm, survive the powers working against them and overcome the curse to find their destiny?

Snow Shadows has a heady mix of romance, the paranormal, Native American folklore and a wonderful cast of characters which drew me in and kept me.

Ms. Hunter wasted no time in introducing me to Matt, a tormented hero who carries the world on his shoulders. He is the oldest of a quartet of young men who accepted their punishment many years ago for breaking tribal customs. It’s a harsh punishment because Matt has more than only the breaking of their laws on his mind. He lives with the knowledge of the true scope of his misdeeds and the fact that his brothers were punished alongside him. So I meet him at a point in his life where he is resigned and indeed protective of his state of being. His isolation is thwarted by a dispirited Ellen.

Ellen was sent by her boss to a place where she could catch her breath and recover her emotional footing. She’s hurting and afraid because the nightmare part of her life she fears is far from over. I meet her on the day she discovers a surprise when out for a misguided walk in the woods and the momentum picks up from there. I’m sure you can figure out who she meets and the sparks to start the fire between them flare into life. What fun.

Matt has special abilities inherent in his curse that not only allow him to serve out his sentence but have the side benefit of being able to connect with Ellen in a way that brought many smiles throughout this whole story. My favorite special ability is which animal he shifts into. I’m partial to teddy bears but an angered or protective Matt is a sight to behold. Kept me turning the pages.

I know I mentioned earlier that Ellen has some healing to do, but she carries even more baggage that truly affects any relationship she has. It’s a credit to the strength written into Ellen’s character that she is able to extend trust to a man she hardly knows and the pacing and timeframe for doing so is believable. She’s a tortured heroine to Matt’s tortured hero.

Thank goodness for Matt’s brothers; Mark, Luke and Jon. I really enjoyed their verbal sparring and any guy who has the opinion of Dr. Phil that these guys do is more than okay in my book. I did a mental ‘high-five’ when I read that part and laughed out loud. There were so many fun and witty comments between them, it made the story come to life and ensured that I will be very interested in the next segment of the Eternal Shadows series.

The best part is the HEA. The scenes leading up to the ultimate profession of love is laden with suspense, heartfelt emotion, joy and laughter, and embraces all the loving and passion that had started on that mountain. Snow Shadows is the start of the Eternal Shadows series and is one worth keeping a space on your bookshelf for.